BCLC Calls On Banks To Promote Safe Gambling

By Ben Hamill - January 11 2021

BCLC Calls On Banks To Promote Safe Gambling

Financial institutions such as the banking industry could play an important role in the protection of consumers from gambling-related harm. So said BCLC Director of Player Health Jamie Wiebe during his address at the Crown corporation’s ninth annual New Horizons in Responsible Gambling conference in Vancouver, B.C.

Wiebe also said that the operator was keen on promoting increased dialogue between the gambling industry and the banking industry as this would ultimately offer more support to more players. Wiebe said the BCLC believed that if banks were to roll out the necessary tools and safeguards necessary for the encouragement of a change of customer behaviour, such a move would greatly support and benefit gaming operators in the roll-out of their own strategies for the promotion of safer gambling practices and customer habits.

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The Inside Intersection

Perhaps the biggest role that banks could play, said Wiebe, would be to facilitate a better understanding of the actual relationship between the spending habits of customers, and the relationship that those customers have with gaming. Access to this particular data would be of enormous help to the industry as it works towards the development of enhanced tools as part of its own response to problem gambling behaviour.

One financial institution to have rolled out certain safeguards and financial measures to help customers manage their gambling in a more financially responsible manner is UK-based online bank Monzo. The bank in 2018 launched a blocking feature that allows customers to add their details (names and bank accounts) to a gambling self-exclusion register. The system makes use of merchant codes that are unique to customer profiles and linked to all major credit card providers. Monzo’s tool blocks all gambling transactions attempted by customers registered on the blocking feature’s database.

According to data provided by the bank, since the blocking tool went live nearly 3 years ago, at least 222,993 Monzo account holders had made use of the feature by self-excluding from gambling.

Banks Have Not Been Static

But Simon McNair, who is a lead policy advisor at a UK public service information and insight provider, Behavioural Insight Team, argues that financial institutions – and with specific reference to banks – already play a significant collective role in the directing of the gambling behaviour of their customers.

McNair during his own address explained that banks were already showing a great deal of pro-activity regarding the safeguarding of their customers from gambling-related harm. Problematic gambling behaviour is largely a money management-related issue, said McNair, making banks’ involvement a crucial link in the solutions chain.

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